What You Need To Know:
RETRIBUTION adds some new twists to the RESIDENT EVIL franchise, but the plot offers few surprises otherwise. There’s a lot of scenes of Alice and her allies fighting monsters, zombie soldiers, and regular bad guys and girls with weapons. Some poor editing choices in the beginning starts the movie on the wrong foot. Also, Alice never seems to be in real jeopardy until the end. RETRIBUTION has partial, obscured nudity in one scene and brief foul language. It’s rated R for graphic action violence, so extreme caution is advised.
(BB, LL, VVV, NN, D, M) Strong moral worldview of good guys versus bad guys with heroine protecting a little girl, but set in a dark world; 10 obscenities (but no “f” words) and no profanities; constant action violence, some of it graphic, as zombie monsters attack people to bite them (no eating is shown), large monsters attack people, people shoot guns at monsters, people fight each other, explosions, large monster kidnaps little girl but she’s rescued, fighting between people includes two X-ray shots of people and their hearts after they’ve been hit in the chest (no gore, just white outlines of hearts); no sex scenes, but woman playfully hits husband on rear in kitchen and man places hand on woman’s thigh but she removes it; brief partial nudity from a distance in one shot when woman’s body is barely covered with two flimsy hospital gown pieces on her front and back and some female cleavage; no alcohol; man smokes cigar; and, kidnapping, greed, manipulation.
The last two RESIDENT EVIL movies offered moviegoers more action adventure and more fun. RETRIBUTION is more of a retread, though it does have a new person for the heroine to care about and protect, a little girl. The good news is that the foul language remains toned down, though the graphic action violence still warrants extreme caution.
RETRIBUTION opens where the last movie left off, with a strike force from the Umbrella Corporation coming to the large ship where we last saw Alice. The movie makes the mistake of running this action scene backwards, then forwards. The backwards mayhem looks cool, but there’s no reason to run it forwards again, because the audience just what happened to Alice already!!!
Anyway, the shockwave from an explosion eventually knocks Alice into the water. Cut to Alice with longer, different colored hair waking up in a suburban home. Alice now has a handsome husband and a little girl named Becky. Suddenly this happy home is disturbed by an attack of zombie monsters. The husband gets trapped by the zombies, but Alice escapes with Becky. However, Alice and Becky get trapped again and it looks like there’s no way out.
Cut to Alice with short black hair in a very skimpy hospital garb on her front and back. The room she’s in resembles the ubiquitous red, white, silver umbrella sign of the Umbrella Corporation, the weapons manufacturer that accidentally released one of its zombie viruses on the world. The corporation has been taken over by its highly developed computer, the Red Queen. The Red Queen has taken over the mind of Alice’s former friend, Jill Valentine. Through Jill, the Red Queen is now trying to interrogate Alice about why she left her job as a top-level security person for the corporation.
In between the interrogation, someone hacks into the security system guarding Alice. The door opens. Alice finds a leather Umbrella uniform and walks out. Alerted by the escape, the Red Queen tries to kill Alice with a laser, but Alice escapes through another door and walks onto the empty streets of Tokyo. She gets a gun from an isolated, unattended police car. It suddenly starts to rain and the streets fill up with people and umbrellas. Suddenly, one of the people starts attacking the other people and infecting them with the Umbrella zombie virus. Alice fights her way into an Umbrella room where all the guards are dead.
Ada, the Asian woman hired by the former head of the Umbrella Corporation to protect Alice because she’s the only one immune to the zombie virus, appears. She informs Alice that they’re actually in the corporation’s test facility located in a Siberian military facility once run by the Soviet Union. The test site includes mockups of Tokyo, New York, Moscow, and a suburban American town. Wesker, the former head of Umbrella, has sent a rescue team for them. They’re supposed to rendezvous at the Moscow test site and proceed to the nearby submarine pen to escape. They have two hours to get there until the Red Queen sends massive reinforcements.
After battling two monsters in the New York test site, Alice and Ada move to the suburban test site where the other Alice was fighting off zombies. The other Alice is obviously another test clone for the corporation. The real Alice finds the other Alice dead in a downstairs room. Going upstairs, she has to dispatch a lone zombie. After she does so, little Becky suddenly shows up calling her mommy and asking why she changed her hair. Alice takes Becky under her wing, but Jill Valentine appears with a small team ordered to take Alice alive or kill her.
Now, Alice, Becky, and Ada have to fight off these guys and some zombie monsters in Moscow to unite with the other good guys and escape from the test facility. And, they have to do it before the explosives set by the other good guys destroy the whole facility.
RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION is rated R for the graphic action violence in it, not for its brief foul language or a long-distance flash of upper female nudity when the heroine is in the skimpy hospital garb barely covering her nude body. Otherwise, the movie’s worldview is moral, with good guys and bad guys. Of course, the ultimate bad guy in the piece is the self-aware computer called the Red Queen. The Red Queen likes to take the form of a red image of an angry little girl, so it acts as kind of a shadow for both the heroine, Alice, and the little girl she’s protecting in this particular episode. Like the zombie monsters it creates, the evil computer represents the idea of technology gone amuck. This is a prevalent theme in many science fiction and horror books and movies. It also resembles, of course, the arbitrary inhuman authority of the first Red Queen, the one in ALICE IN WONDERLAND.
Although RETRIBUTION adds some new twists to the RESIDENT EVIL franchise, the plot offers few surprises. It gets off to a bad start by showing the first action sequence twice, first backwards in slow motion to the beginning, then forwards. This might have been easily fixed by running the forwards part in super-fast speed or in snippets, like speeding up an audio tape. Also harmful is the fact that there are three sets of bad guys – the zombie monsters, the team headed by Alice’s old ally, and the Red Queen computer. It’s also hard to hate the zombie monsters and the ally since they are only unthinking tools unleashed by the Red Queen. All this perhaps would have been more interesting if the Red Queen was itself being controlled by another, more clever, human or superhuman villain. Finally, Alice never seems to be in real jeopardy until the end.
As noted above, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for the graphic action violence in RETRIBUTION. The foul language is much more limited, reserved, and brief.